Part Two of leftover questions from my online chat After an Affair (Feb. 5):
I had a non-emotional affair, as did my wife. I did everything to keep the marriage together – counselling, etc. When I confronted my wife about her affair, she immediately wanted a divorce.
We’ve been divorced for four years. I’ve gone through therapy. I will never stray again in another relationship. But a lot of women believe once one cheats, always a cheater.
I don't agree, if one takes the steps through therapy to figure out what happened and why. I also believe in a lot of cases the affair’s a sign the relationship’s in trouble, and to blame just one side 100 %, is wrong.
Of course, if there was abuse of any kind, the abuser is solely to blame.
The belief that cheaters never change, does not apply to people who probe their own behaviour and change some things, with professional help.
Some experts estimate that up to 45 per cent of relationships have involved an affair. That’s a sad, disruptive statistic when, if people openly discussed their issues with each other and tried counselling first, there’d be less rush to anger and blame.
Serial cheaters are different – reflecting their own drives rather than relationship problems, e.g. compulsive need for attention, sex addiction, and massive/hidden insecurities.
I had a fling with a woman but ended it when I realized she was obsessed. She was texting me constantly, phoning me at home, and hanging up repeatedly. We’d only been together three times, but she’d imagined that I was leaving my wife.
I had to confess the affair, as the stalking increased; she drove by our house many times. My wife was devastated but stood by me.
We sent a lawyer’s letter to the woman saying that further harassment would involve police. It stopped and I’m grateful that my marriage survived. Affairs can destroy everything else in your life.
Relieved It’s Over
The situation demanded that you take responsibility for the fling, and to also make its ending firm and final.
But it was also an appropriate response to the woman, not only because she was stalking you, but also because anything less final would’ve led her on.
One of the disastrous mistakes people make in affairs, is not recognizing the real intentions of the lover. And not assessing her, or his, emotional stability.
Lucky that you have a wife who’s strong, understanding, and loyal.
My boyfriend was pressuring me to move in together but I got cold feet and called a break. I was unsure he was the one. So I went to California to see a guy I’d fallen hard for on a vacation, just before I met my boyfriend. He wanted me to move there, but I had a good job here and my family. I wanted to test my old feelings.
I came back to end the break but my boyfriend says I cheated and don’t deserve our relationship. I don’t think it’s cheating when you’re on a break.
Don’t Accept the Label
Since you called the break specifically to get together with this other guy, you cheated, emotionally, and likely sexually, too.
What’s needed now is the strong statement that you weren’t ready to move in together.
Take a real break (which you both need) - no contact for several months, while trying to figure out if you miss him, not just having a boyfriend.
FEEDBACK Regarding the person living with a "constant complainer:”
Reader – “She’s experiencing verbal abuse and nothing she can do personally will fix the problem. It's more insidious than physical abuse, and far more likely to be dismissed.
“A book which was suggested to me by a therapist has helped me immensely dealing with a verbally abusive sibling - "The Verbally Abusive Relationship" by Patricia Evans.
“It’s very enlightening to recognize patterns that you are personally experiencing.
“The book also details exit strategies for leaving these dangerous relationships.
“It’s not just "complaining.” If the abuser doesn't get help, the behaviour will destroy not only the relationship, but the self-esteem and well-being of the person being abused.”
Ellie – Thanks for sharing your own experience, and a book that helped you.
“Complaining” is such a broad term, it’s no wonder that, even when constant, this form of verbal abuse gets overlooked as so damaging to its target.
Tip of the day:
A cheater CAN change, with the will to do so, plus self-understanding.